This paper reviews lessons from past attempts to anchor fiscal and monetary policies to established policy rules with the aim of achieving better economic performance and financial stability. It is motivated by the observation that macroeconomic stabilization policy will likely be more active in the period ahead.

In this environment, attention would focus on rules and policy frameworks to guide decisions. The paper highlights a critical international dimension to this discussion that arises because policies in one country can spillover to others. These interactions are governed by international financial arrangements or the “architecture” of the international monetary and financial system. Such arrangements and the cooperation they support determine the constraints under which domestic policies operate and the effectiveness of policy rules in securing shared objectives.

The paper reviews past regimes and contends that in the pre-crisis period ambiguities with respect to these arrangements were a critical factor leading to the global financial crisis. Key lessons to guide the design of policy frameworks for the decades ahead are identified.

Part of Series

CIGI Papers present in-depth analysis and discussion on governance-related subjects. They include policy papers that present CIGI experts' positions or contributions to policy debates, and background papers that contain research findings, insights and data that contribute to the development of policy positions.
  • James A. Haley is a senior fellow at CIGI and a Canada Institute global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC.